"Jews cannot fight antisemitism alone, Muslims cannot fight islamaphobia alone, gays cannot fight homophobia alone. The victim cannot cure the crime, the hated cannot cure the hater. We are as big or as small as the space we make for others who are not like us."

— Lord Sacks, Chief Rabbi (via andrewpseudonym)

(via gayjew)

“For girls nowadays, it’s OK to play with boys’ toys, dress like boys, talk like them – it’s often encouraged,” said Isabelle Cherney, a Creighton University psychologist. “Boys have to walk a much finer line, and their fathers tend to be more stereotyped, telling them not to deviate from what’s typically seen as masculine.”

For little girls and their parents, there’s ample room to maneuver. Ultra-feminine toys and activities abound, along with an ever-growing range of “tomboy” sports options and other pursuits that in the past were mostly the domain of boys.

“The norms of femininity have expanded much more than the norms for masculinity – a lot more androgyny is allowed for girls,” said Judith Stacey, a professor of social and cultural analysis at New York University.

“With boys, it’s not seen as OK to wear skirts, play with princesses’ wands,” she said. “There’s still a lot of anxiety about being sufficiently masculine.”

The trends are reflected in career aspirations. Women now make up close to half the enrollment in U.S. law and medical schools, up from less than 25 percent a few decades ago, yet men continue to shun nursing as a career, comprising only about 8 percent of registered nurses.

"While there have always been—and there will continue to be—men who do terrible things, that doesn’t make all men guilty. We shouldn’t be apologizing for what bad men have done any more than we should be apologizing for what bad women have done. The best thing we can do for Men (and Women) is to work to be the best people we can be today—and try to be a little bit better tomorrow—while accepting that one guy’s story, one path to Goodness, might be a lot different from another guy’s path. His story might be different, but that doesn’t make him less good, or less of a man."

— Tom Matlack, “Men: Not All the Same,” The Good Men Project

"

What guys tell us they do want is relationships, even though it doesn’t fit the stereotype. It doesn’t matter if we’re surveying or interviewing high-school students, undergraduates, or adults—the vast majority tell us they want to be in a relationship. And they’re serious about it: in the U.S., approximately 80 percent of high-school seniors tell us they’ve had at least one serious dating relationship. As adults, about 90 percent of guys will get married at least once in their lifetime, even though our stereotype of marriage tells these guys that they’ll rarely have sex—or fun—again after the honeymoon. While many of those relationships won’t last for 40 years, about half will. And most guys are only interested in being with one person at a time, whether that’s in the context of a marital relationship or outside of it…

If you read history, or at least watch the TV shows about ancient civilizations, you’ll notice that when they talk about families, they almost always talk about monogamous couples. That’s not fiction or convenience. Most of the adults who have ever lived on earth have been involved in monogamous relationships.

"

— Andre Smiler, “Are Men Natural-Born Cheaters?” The Good Men Project

It is still a bit early to talk about my novel Angel, which (publicly) doesn’t exist yet.  It is due to be released in Fall.  Talking about it too early means you’ll probably lose interest by the time it comes out and no one will buy it and I’ll starve to death, broken and bitter.  What the heck, I’ll risk it.

The novel, among other things, deals with the spiritual lives of gay characters— the specifically Christian spiritual life of these characters.  I had a hard time finding a home for it.  In part because there were too few car chases and so on, but also because of its theme.  Not edgy and sexy enough for the gay publishers, I was told.  Too gay for the Christian publishers. 

"The Christians will not touch it," was the conventional wisdom.

My strong belief is that conventional wisdom is wrong.

Our points of view are shaped largely these days, not by our actual friends and neighbors, but by the media.  Even if you do not get your news primarily from television, those outlets control what stories will be discussed elsewhere by their sheer reach, power and repetitiveness. (I never watched a news story about Charlie Sheen, and yet through the news sources in my Twitter feed, I couldn’t escape knowing that whatever was happening with him was the obsessive story of the moment.)

Television news is competing for ratings against reality tv and entertainment programs like American Idol.  The bias of the media, therefore, is not a liberal or conservative bias, but an entertainment bias.  If it’s entertaining it leads.

One result of this is that the most vocal and extreme get more airtime than the moderate voices.  Christianity, and Evangelical Christianity in particular, are represented in the public mind by haters like Terry Jones and the Westboro Baptist Church. (No wonder young people are turned off.)

Because we self-select our news and information options, people outside the Christian faith know more about what their peers say about those churches than what average people from those churches have to say.

I am not so out of touch as to say that the vast majority of Christian churches are perfectly groovy about gays and lesbians and that these questions are not contentious in 21st century religious institutions.  Discrimination exists as do loud voices preaching hate.  Yet welcoming and diversity-curious churches (those that are wrestling with the question in a clumsy but well-intentioned way) are much more common than the media might have you believe.  My sense is that they are actually becoming the norm.

Take for example this sign:

Being Gay is a Gift

The above message was displayed on an electronic billboard in Toledo, Ohio. The church issued the below statement in support of their campaign:


This simple statement is intended to be a gift to those who have experienced hurt and discrimination because of their real or perceived sexual orientation. The Church seeks nothing less than the healing of the world, and Central UMC wants to offer words and acts of healing to those hurt and marginalized. Also, declaring that being gay is a gift from God is a prophetic call to the Church to get out of the business of marginalizing gay and lesbian persons from the Church, and to welcome them as full members.

I previously posted a blurb about Bring Your Gay Teen to Church Day, June 25-26.

Far from being an issue Christians “won’t touch” it is an issue that is touching Christian communities every day.

I have posted the video above to show how at least some modern Evangelicals are discussing these questions.  The clip is from a panel on the “Speaking of Faith” radio program, Chuck Colson, Greg Boyd, and Shane Claiborne discuss evangelical attitudes towards and dealings with homosexuality.  You will hear familiar “hate the sin love the sinner” rhetoric but the tone may surprise you if your views of Evangelicals are shaped by clips of fallen hypocritical preachers (railing against the sin of homosexuality before being caught in a hotel with a boy— great television, that!) and the Westboro Baptist Hatemongers.  No red faces proclaiming that the Bible says gays should be stoned to death in this clip.

My hope is that we can spend more time talking to each other instead of about each other.  Oh yeah, and that you’ll buy my book when it comes out in fall.  It’s going to be called Angel, and I hope you’ll like it.

"

What we found was that in G-rated movies, for every one female character, there were three male characters. If it was a group scene, it would change to five to one, male to female.

Of the female characters that existed, the majority are highly stereotyped and/or hypersexualized. To me, the most disturbing thing was that the female characters in G-rated movies wear the same amount of sexually revealing clothing as the female characters in R-rated movies.

And then we looked at aspirations and occupations and things like that. Pretty much the only aspiration for female characters was finding romance, whereas there are practically no male characters whose ultimate goal is finding romance. The No. 1 occupation was royalty. Nice gig, if you can get it. And we found that the majority of female characters in animated movies have a body type that can’t exist in real life. So, the question you can think of from all this is: What message are we sending to kids?

"

Geena Davis (via reelaroundthefountain)

(Source: emiliefloges, via melusinahp)

"Happens to Be"

I love the expression “happens to be.” 

We say it when we are pointing out something about someone’s social identity.  The thing we are identifying is held, by some groups, to be a pejorative.  Using the expression says that you are not one of those small minded people.  You are mentioning a distinction in passing, but it is not that important to you.  It doesn’t define how you see that person.  You hardly even notice it really.

Except you pretty much only use the expression in a context  in which the distinction actually is important.  You would probably not say, for example, “I handed my friend Julie, who happens to be a lesbian, the book.”  That would be weird.

You’re much more apt to use it when you’re speaking in a context in which the information about the person’s race/religion/political affiliation/gender identity is relevant. For example, you are talking about how the state of Virginia combined Martin Luther King Jr day with a celebration of Confederate soldiers and ended up with a compromise that pleases no one— “Lee Jackson King Day.” 

One of your friends had something pithy to say about this and, by the way, she “happens to be” African-American.  In this context, you bring her race up because her perspective as a person of color is actually a relevant part of the story.

Yet you don’t want the listener to think you just go around all the time calling Lois “My Black Friend.”  “Happens to be” signifies that we’re comfortable with the difference we’re pointing out.  That’s what we’re trying to say with the words.  What we’re also saying, less intentionally, is that we’re uncomfortable talking about this difference.  That’s a lot of work for three little words to do.